Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans got the latest show under the Diamond Glove banner of shows. The card was a pretty notable one with several bouts of note on it, including a Japanese title eliminator and a Japanese title fight.
The first of the notable bouts on this card saw second generation fighter Jinya Yamaguchi (2-0, 2) [山口 仁也] score a 4th round win over Filipino visitor Argelo Samson (4-2, 4). Yamaguchi started slowly, and was dropped early in the bout by a right hook. Despite being knocked down Yamaguchi recovered well and then opened up in round 3, wobbling Samson late in the round, before dropping his man in round 4. Samson beat the count but was stopped soon afterwards as Yamaguchi unloaded on him with a flurry.
The second bout of note saw Mikyo Watarai (2-0, 1) [渡来 美響] score his second professional win, as he took a 6 round shut out win over Filipino visitor Romer Pinili (5-2-1, 4). Watarai dominated the bout, but he was unable to stop Pinili, who showed real grit, determination and toughness to see out 6 rounds. Credit needs to go to Pinili for surviving, but he didn't come close to being competitive, and really was relying on his grit, especially in the later rounds.
The third bout of some real note saw another prospect pick up a win as Josuke Nagata (4-0) [永田 丈晶] out boxed and out pointed the explosive Yuki Nakajima (5-2-2, 5) [中嶋 憂輝] over 8 rounds to claim his fourth win, and his most notable to date. The talented Nagata controlled swathes of the bout behind his accurate punching and combinations, which forced Nakajima on to the back foot, somewhere he's never been comfortable. The smart up and down combinations and intelligent defense from Nagata saw him make this look easy, as he shut out Nakajima on two cards, whilst the third judge saw a wat to find a round for Nakajima.
In the chief support bout we saw a Japanese Lightweight title eliminator as Shuma Nakazato (12-2-3, 7) [仲里周磨] defeated Ken Koibuchi (8-5-1, 7) [鯉淵健] over 8 rounds. This was a genuine war with both landing big shots, and head clashes also being a factor, with Nakazato suffering several cuts from head clashes. Despite the head clashes Nakazato did enough to take home the win, though had to take some serious punishment along the way, particularly in round 7 as Koibuchi dug hard and looked to core a late stoppage. After 8 rounds the score cards were 78-74, 77-75 and 76-76 giving Nakazato the majority decision win.
In the main event we saw Japanese Welterweight champion Keita Obara (26-4-1, 23) [小原 佳太] over-come interim champion Takeru Kobata (12-6-1, 5) [小畑 武尊] in 3 rounds. On paper this one always seemed like a mismatch, despite the good recent form from Kobata, though the opening round was tense with both men showing a lot of respect to each other. In the second round Obara seemed to find his groove, though only landed a single notable right hand, which was essentially a warning shot. In round 3 he managed to land another right hand, which sent Kobata down. Although Kobata did recover his feet he staggered forcing the referee to wave the bout off.
Earlier today Misako Gym announced that a date has been sent for a Japanese Welterweight title unification bout, between regular champion Keita Obara (25-4-1, 22) [小原 佳太] and the recently crowned interim champion Takeru Kobata (12-5-1, 5) [小畑 武尊], with the bout set for October 11th at Korakuen Hall.
Obara was supposed to defend his title earlier this year against Yuki Nagano (19-4, 15) [永野祐樹], but was forced to pull out of the contest due to a leg injury suffered in training. Due to Obara's injury Kobata and Nagano clashed for the interim title, with Kobata stopping Nagano in 5 rounds back in June.
For Obara the bout will serve as his third defense of the title, and he has his eyes on another major international fight if he can get past Kobata. He is currently world ranked and knows that time is running out on his career to land the huge fights he wants.
As for Kobata the bout will be his first for a full title, and a chance to announce himself, big time, on the domestic scene. It is, however, a huge ask for him against the most talented fighter he has faced in his career, and a huge step up from facing the likes of Nagano.
As well as the title bout this card is also confirmed to feature the Japanese title eliminator between Shuma Nakazato (11-2-3, 7) [仲里周磨] and Ken Koibuchi (8-4-1, 7) [鯉淵健], with the winner set to get a Japanese title fight next year, as part of the Champion Carnival.
Earlier today the Japan Professional Boxing Association announced the Strongest Korakuen bouts, which will take place later this year to decide the mandatory challengers for the Japanese titles in the new year, with 10 bouts being announced.
The Minimumweight bout will see WBO Asia Pacific champion Yudai Shigeoka (5-0, 3) [重岡優大] take on Tatsuro Nakashima (11-3-1, 7) [仲島辰郎], with the winner getting a show at the Japanese title, currently held by Yudai's younger brother Ginjiro Shigeoka (8-0, 6) [重岡銀次朗], who actually beat Nakashima for the title. This bout is set to take place at Korakuen Hall on November 17th.
The Light Flyweight eliminator will see Daiki Tomita (18-2, 6) [冨田大樹] battle Rikito Shiba (6-2, 3) [芝力人], though no date or venue has been announced for this bout.
At Super Flyweight we also have no date or venue set, but a mouth watering bout as Ryusei Kawaura (9-1, 6) [川浦龍生] battles Suzumi Takayama (5-0, 4) [高山涼深], in what is potentially the best looking of the bouts announced.
The Bantamweight bout bout will see Jin Minamide (6-2, 5) [南出仁] battle against Yuki Yonaha (11-3-1, 8) [与那覇勇気], in what could prove to be a very explosive bout between two flawed but hard hitting.
On the subject of interesting bouts we'll have a potentially thrilling war at Super Bantamweight as former champions Ryoichi Tamura (14-6-1, 7) [田村亮一] takes on Gakuya Furuhashi (28-9-2, 16) [古橋大輔]. Interestingly these two men also met in a Japanese title eliminator back in 2019, with Furuhashi taking a razor win over Tamura, before winning the title with a sensational battle just 4 months later.
At Featherweight former champion Ryo Sagawa (12-2, 7) [佐川遼] faces off with Daisuke Watanabe (12-5-2, 7) [渡部大介].
At Super Featherweight the hard hitting Yamato Hata (12-1, 11) [波田大和] will face Yuna Hara (11-2-1, 6) [原優奈], with this bout set to take place on October 1st at Korakuen Hall.
On paper one of the more underwhelming bouts is set to take place at Lightweight, as Shuma Nakazato (11-2-3, 7) [仲里周磨] takes on the hard hitting Ken Koibuchi (8-4-1, 7) [鯉淵健], in what might be an bout that's easy to over-look but is very likely to be an explosive encounter.
At Welterweight we're in for a treat as we get a rematch between Hironori Shigeta (8-2-1, 5) [重田裕紀] and Shoki Sakai (26-13-2, 14) [坂井祥紀], who gave us a very fan friendly bout back in 2020 with Sakai taking a clear but hard fought decision win. This bout is set to take place on October 22nd at Korakuen Hall.
At 154lbs Rei Nakajima (5-1) [中島玲] will face Koki Koshikawa (9-6, 6) [越川孝紀]. For Koshikawa he's looking to land his third shot at the Japanese 154lb title whilst Nakajima will be looking to secure his second shot at the title.
Notably there is no bout set for Flyweight, Light Welterweight or Middleweight. At the time of writing it's been reported that former world title challenger Ryota Yamauchi (8-2, 7) [山内涼太] will be getting a shot at Flyweight Cristiano Aoqui (16-9-2, 11), will get a shot at 140lbs and unfortunately there won't be a mandatory challenger for the Champion Carnival at Middleweight.
Earlier today Japanese fight fans at Korakuen Hall got an interesting card, headlined by a pair of title bouts, as Hideyuki Ohashi and the Ohashi Gym put on their latest show.
Before the title fights the fans got a very interesting domestic level clash between two really well matched fighters, each looking to move their careers forward, and move towards a major fight of their own. That bout saw Katsuya Yasuda (8-1, 5) [保田克也] suffer his first defeat, as he came up short in a hotly contested battle with recent Japanese Lightweight title challenger Shuma Nakazato (11-2-3, 7) [仲里周磨].
Early on both men looked sharp, and both had some moments, but the most eye catching came from Yasuda, who put Yasuda on the canvas in round 2, in a very messy knockdown. That seemed to slow the action down somewhat and for much of the bout the actually really wasn't too pretty, with Yasuda being to blame much of the messy work, so much so he was deducted a point in round 7. After 8 rounds the judges scorecards were tallied with Yasuda getting the majority decision win, with scores of 76-74, twice, and 75-75.
The first of the title fights was at Super Flyweight, as the unbeaten Masayoshi Hashizume (19-0-2, 11) [橋詰 将義] over-came the under-rated Akio Furutani (9-5, 3) [古谷昭男] to claim the previous vacant OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight titles.
The bout started with Hashizume looking to control the range and tempo with his sharp jab, but it wasn't long until Furutani started to have success of his own, forcing Hashizume to begin to rely on his movement more. As the early part of the bout developed Furutani began to pressure more, forcing Hashizume into a rough, tough fight that began to develop into a real war as we reached the middle rounds.
After 5 rounds the open scoring came in for the first time, with Furutani leading 48-47 on one card, and Hashizume leading on the other two, 49-46.
Knowing he was behind as we went in to the middle portion of the bout Furutani looked to pick up the pace, and began to drag Hashizume into a war, though to his credit Hashizume's extra class and rounded skills did see him land numerous big left hands as Furutani came forward, and some really good jabs.
The pressure of Furutani lead to some really exciting action in the later stages of the bout, but sadly for him it wasn't enough to take home the win, despite Hashizume looking incredibly tired in the final round. Despite being tired Hashizume continued to dig deep, and his effort was rewarded on the scorecards, with scores of 118-110, 116-112 and 115-113 all in his favour.
The other title bout saw Japanese and WBO Asian Pacific Light Welterweight champion Andy Hiraoka (19-0, 14) [平岡アンディ] scored his first defense, as he stopped Japanese-Brazilian fighter Cristiano Aoqui (16-9-2, 11) [アオキ クリスチャーノ].
From the off Hiraoka looked sharp, and landed several clean southpaw jabs whilst keeping Aoqui at range and easing himself into the bout. Aoqui was trying to press the action and come forward, but was eating jabs as he was coming in, and struggled with the reach, speed and movement of the champion. Despite Aoqui struggling to get close on a consistent basis, he did manage to have some success, and did enough to earn one round, on of the the three scorecards, when the scores were announced after 5 rounds, with those scores being 50-45, twice, and 49-46.
Knowing he was down Aoqui looked to pick up the pace, pressure and press more, whilst looking to land a big single shot. The pressure had success, with him getting inside and landing straights and big uppercuts, as he finally began to have some success. He wasn't turning the bout around, but was certainly having some moments with his aggression. Sadly for him however, the aggression left him taking risks and in round 10 a huge counter left hand from Hiraoka dropped Aoqui hard. The referee immediately waved off the bout, giving Hiraoka the 10th round TKO.
Earlier today Hideyuki Ohashi announced that the Ohashi Boxing Gym would be promoting Phoenix Battle 86th on February 22nd at Korakuien Hall. No only that but it was also confirmed that the show would be a double header, with two notable title bouts on the show.
The first of those title bouts will see the unbeaten Masayoshi Hashizume (18-0-2, 11) [橋詰 将義] take on Akio Furutani (9-4, 3) [古谷昭男] in a bout for the now vacant OPBF Super Flyweight title, which was recent vacated by Ryoji Fukunaga.
This will be Hashizume's second shot at a title, after fighting to a draw with Takayuki Okumoto in a Japanese title fight in 2018, and a win here will see him living up to the early promise he showed, promise that hasn't yet been delivered on. As for Furutani this bout sees him looking to build on recent upset wins over Keisuke Nakayama and Takayuki Okumoto. On paper Hashizume will be the big favourite, but Furutani has won his last 5, with the wins over Nakayama and Okumoto being very impressive and almost certainly giving him a huge boost of confidence coming in to this one.
The other title bout will see Japanese and WBO Asian Pacific Light Welterweight champion Andy Hiraoka (18-0, 13) [平岡アンディ] make his first defense, as he takes on Japanese-Brazilian fighter Cristiano Aoqui (16-8-2, 11) [アオキ クリスチャーノ], who gets his second shot at the Japanese title after having previously challenged Hiroki Okada in 2016.
For Hiraoka the bout will see him looking to build on an excellent win over Jin Sasaki back in January, where he stopped Sasaki in 11 rounds. A win here and it's likely that that Hiraoka will move on to some form of notable international bout, including a possible return to the US where he has fought twice already. As for Aoqui, he will be a major under-dog here, but will know that this is a huge chance for him to score a career defining victory.
As well as the two title bouts, this card is set to feature another notable bout as Katsuya Yasuda (8-0, 5) [保田克也] faces Shuma Nakazato (10-2-3, 7) [仲里周磨] in a mouth watering 8 rounder.
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